Monday, February 22, 2010

Or We Could Move

                                       That's a little harsh.

"I had a mole removed," my friend told me. "I hate these new parking meters," I responded. "You need a degree to figure them out." She gave me a look. "It was biopsied," she said. I nodded. I could see her lips moving, but for the life of me had no idea what she was saying. And yet, it would be rude not to keep the conversation going. "Someone should invent a napkin that doesn't leave lint all over your black jeans," I said with a laugh. Once again, her lips started to move. "The doctor said it's benign." A pocket of quiet allowed "doctor" to escape. "Oh," I said, ever the concerned pal. "Did you finally get that mole looked at?" Now she lifted a stale bread roll and hurled it directly at my head, splitting my brain in half. (Not really, but I think she wanted to hurt me at this juncture.) "I just told you I did!" Since she's not one to fabricate, I believed her. "Sorry, hun, I can't hear a freakin' thing in this (insert juicy expletive here) noise factory."

Another lunch with Robin, in a Studio City restaurant that I could've sworn was empty when I arrived. A bummer for the owners, a thrill and a half for those of us who worship silence. I picked a comfy spot and sat down, and soon the Gorgeous One arrived. We hugged, as all girlfriends do, and told each other how great we both looked, which in our case, was true. We proceeded to catch up. She'd just been to London. I'd just been to Reseda, to watch my son's talent show. We had a lot of culture to sift through, and nothing to distract us. We placed our orders and settled in for a long chat, near-giddy with our barren surroundings.  Even on a rainy day, this was a rare occasion. The only explanation: the hot new cafe that had just opened a few doors down.

Suddenly, the loudest group of women in the universe arrived, via limo from Costa Mesa, and ruined our sanctuary. There were eight of them, I think, but it felt more like eighty, as they stormed in with their shopping bags and territorial zeal. "We want THAT table in the corner!" one of them yelled at top volume. Her voice echoed off the walls. I looked at Robin. Who did those bitches ladies think they were? "Let's move," I said. An elegant, well-traveled shiksa, she seemed a tad reluctant to make a fuss. I reminded her of my heritage, which was probably unnessary, since she'd attended at least one of my son's bar mitzvahs. She knew me. She knew my brother John. She knew neither one of us would put up with this sort of b.s. "Just follow me."

And so, we gathered our forks and knives, our water glasses and lint-producing napkins, our basket of bread, and stomped to the other side of the restaurant, full of attitude. We planted our butts in the far corner by the window. And Robin, ever the optimist, smiled. "Much better," she said. Of course, I didn't want to tell her that our move had been merely symbolic. The interlopers may have seen us high-tail it in a huff, but they cared not one iota. Still, I wanted Robin to hang on to that shred of hope. "Uh-huh," I said. She took a dainty bite of her salad. "You've done this before, haven't you?" "Please," I said. "This is a Jackie Mason routine. This is what my people do in restaurants: we complain. It's too cold, it's too hot, we hate this table. I spent my childhood following relatives from booth to booth, to get out of drafts. This is nothing."

I would like to tell you that we spent the rest our belated birthday lunch in audio bliss, enjoying each bon mot. This would be a lie, a big one. The "benign mole" versus "parking meter" exchange transpired after we relocated.

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